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$9 fee increase, temporary food waste drop locations recommended in green cart program report

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New details on what it will take to get a city-wide green cart program in place in Winnipeg have been laid out in a new report from the Public Service.

The report will be shared with the Water, Waste and Environment committee, and recommends a $9 increase to the Waste Diversion Fee for the green cart program.

The increase would fund the purchase of green carts and pails to be given to residents, with the fee change starting in 2025 - the current fee is $80.

"It allows us to do it incrementally between now and 2028 when we actually have to have the carts physically purchased and ready to deliver," said Michael Gordichuk, the manager of solid waste services for Winnipeg.

Once the green cart service is in place – which is estimated to start in 2030 – there would be curbside pickup for the carts and garbage collection would switch to a biweekly process, the report recommends.

The shift to biweekly would reduce greenhouse gas emissions and garbage collection costs the report notes.

Gordichuk noted the city wants to make sure this program is done right, which is why the estimated start date is still six years away.

"If you look at some of the other jurisdictions to the west of us, they've had some complications when they kind of tried to rush the plan, jump ahead, some assumptions get made and unfortunately they had some hiccups along the way. So we want to make sure this program comes out, it gets rolled out, and it's successful off the get-go."

While the city waits for the cart collection to start, the Public Service also recommends implementing an interim service, allowing people to bring food waste to all 4R depots and up to 14 other community locations.

Adding the additional duties at the 4Rs would cost $25,000 more a year for the city, while another $135,000 a year would be needed for a contract with Compost Winnipeg to "provide opportunity for greater food waste diversion."

"The service contract would expire when the city-wide green cart program is operational, but the self-haul collection at the 4R Winnipeg Depots would run parallel with the city-wide green cart program. Both of these interim options could be administered within 120 days of approval," the report reads.

Coun. Brian Mayes, who is the chairperson of the committee, said he hoped the report would have answered more questions that he has.

"This answers maybe two or three of them. So it's OK as far as it goes. I'd still like to see if we can do something sooner," said Mayes.

"But at least it gives a commitment to, 'Yeah, we're going to do this, and we're going to move to a biweekly garbage pickup,' eventually. But a lot of questions still to be answered."

Mayes noted he isn't sure what the uptake will be for residents to bring food waste to a collection site while they wait for the program.

The city already had a pilot program involving 4,000 households throughout Winnipeg to test the use of green carts.

The Water, Waste and Environment committee will review the report on June 28.

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